Tesla fell just shy of hitting CEO Elon Musk’s goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles in 2020, the company announced Saturday, having shipped a record 499,550 throughout the year — or 99.91 percent. Tesla said the final tally could vary by as much as 0.5 percent, though, so it’s possible that it will eclipse the 500,000 mark by the time it reveals the ultimate figures in its full year results, due out at the end of January.
Either way, that’s more than double what the next-largest sellers of electric vehicles did in 2020, like China’s BYD or Germany’s Volkswagen. And it’s a remarkable recovery for Tesla considering the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on its operations during the first half of the year. While Tesla said in January 2020 that it expected to “comfortably exceed” Musk’s goal of shipping 500,000 cars worldwide by the end of the year, the company had to close its new factory in China as well as its vehicle plant in Fremont, California for several weeks as the virus spread.
Musk maintained that Tesla would still be able to reach his goal, and the company followed suit, especially after it launched the Model Y SUV ahead of schedule in March. Tesla delivered 88,400 vehicles in Q1, and 90,650 vehicles in Q2. In October, Tesla said it delivered 139,300 vehicles during the third quarter, slightly better than the 137,000 Wall Street had expected. It also had its fifth consecutive profitable quarter in Q3. All of this helped send the company’s stock price into the stratosphere, making it the most valuable automaker on the planet.